Name a Character

Want to name a character in my upcoming book Supernatural Slayer?

I have to rename one of my vampires and thought it would be fun to give readers the opportunity to choose the name.

Leave a comment and the name you share might make it into the book!

The Rooster in the Year of the Dog

I love Lainy Gossip’s annual Chinese zodiac outlooks. This is cross-posted from her blog for my reference.

Luck operates on rhythm; it rises and it falls. No sign will be lucky all the time. Some signs will be luckier than others. Good luck doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the sh-t and can you do anything you want. Bad luck isn’t necessarily bad, sometimes it just means good luck is taking her time to arrive, waiting to see if you deserve it. If you’re running a good luck streak, you have to be just as careful as you would if you’re on a bad luck streak. Because luck is fragile, fleeting, and fickle. You must always respect and protect it.

A note to everyone before we begin though, particularly for this year. We are about to begin a Fire year. Through all the years that we’ve been doing this, ma has tried to simplify her zodiac readings as much as possible because it can get to be quite a science. For this year, however, since the strength of the Fire could potentially be quite strong, she wanted me to try to explain the Five Elements because they have an impact on the advisories. Traditional Chinese culture is governed by Five Elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Wood, and Water. Each of us belongs to one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. And we also all have our corresponding elements. The elements can work together or they can work against each other. This is the relationship between the elements:

Earth helps Metal
Metal helps Water
Water helps Wood
Wood helps Fire
Fire helps Earth

Earth hinders Water
Water hinders Fire
Fire hinders Metal
Metal hinders Wood
Wood hinders Earth

Here’s where it can get kind of confusing though: the elements and the Chinese zodiac don’t always have to match up. For example, this year itself will be a Fire year. But a child born this year, after February 16, during the Year of the Dog, will be a Wood Dog, not a Fire Dog. This is some sophisticated feng shui/astrology sh-t that we don’t have to examine that too closely right now. Ma says all we need to know is that Fire is the element that will be felt much more strongly than others this year. Fire is not calming. Fire can hurt and burn – our relationships, our careers, our finances. So we all need to hydrate, no matter our sign, no matter the element, but certain people born to and of certain signs and elements have to be extra careful. Like if you have a summer birthday, whatever your sign and element, you want to stay cool.

Ready? The 12 Days of Chinese New Year begins now, with the Rooster.

Those born under the sign of the Rooster will have a sunny star shining on them during this Year of the Dog. The sunny star could bring career glory. But do not rush your luck. And be careful who you trust. Those in the sun will always attract jealousy. Which means that betrayal is never far away. Also, because you’re in the sun, you have to watch your heat levels, as previously noted, the heat is on this year because of the energy from the element of Fire. Stay healthy. Be vigilant about injuries.

Roosters may have some major decisions to make this year, decisions that could have an impact for many, many years to come. Be ready for them and take them seriously. 

1945 Water Rooster – since water hinders fire, Roosters born this year might have some night luck: money that comes in when the sun is down, like from gambling or the lottery.

1957 Fire Rooster – it’s going to be busy for Roosters born this year, a lot of work could run you down, and since you are of fire during a year of Fire, you should take time to relax, don’t go beyond your limits, and make sure to get lots of rest.

1969 Earth Rooster – you may benefit from the attention of a generous benefactor this year who will help you to great success at work. Don’t forget to be thankful.

1981 Wood Rooster – you will be an inspiration this year to people who look to you as a model for achievement. 

1993 Metal Rooster – there may be successful entrepreneurial opportunities for Roosters born this year and you could see solid gains in business.

2005 Water Rooster – this young Rooster may be vulnerable to distractions this year. If you have one in your life or if you are the parent of one, watch over them closely, pay attention, and try not to miss any signs.

Love should be smooth for all Roosters during the Year of the Dog if you can avoid the Fire and maintain chill. If you are a single Rooster, be open to romance and “go for it”, ma says. If you are a coupled Rooster, celebrate your anniversary, go on holiday. That said, remember the sunny star that’s shining on you this year. You don’t want to get too hot on holiday. Travel and have fun but manage your risks. Don’t let any hasty, silly lapses in judgement bring down your shine.

All Roosters should be attentive to health changes this year. See the doctor as soon as the Lunar New Year begins for a full checkup with full blood work. Be particularly cautious about your bones.

 Between March 5 to April 4, watch your investments. Don’t be greedy or it will cost you everything. And mind your step, like actually. Don’t trip.

May and June mark the beginning of Fire season. Manage your moods. Stay calm if there are relationship conflicts. Do not let small arguments get out of control. If you’re able to mitigate the heat or avoid it, you may get away with a small cut. If not, you risk a bigger cut. Cuts can be figurative and literal.

In July and August, there’s a swindle alert. Do not trust too easily.

In September and October, you should approach decisions and dilemmas without drama, calmly. There may be many around you offering opinions, wanting to have their say. Clear your head, block out the noise, and do what is best for you, not them.

There are romantic possibilities between December 7 and January 5, 2019. This is a great time to meet new people, to get out and socialise, go on holiday. You’ll have a great time during this period, all the way until February 3, 2019, but don’t get out of hand with the partying and do not lower your defences. Remember that luck does not enjoy arrogance and doesn’t reward the irresponsible.

Paris 2018

During my trip to London I decided to take the Eurostar to Paris for a day. Of course I had to choose a day when it was freezing and snowing.

The photos don’t represent how much snow actually fell but I thought I’d share them anyway.

I played the tourist, visiting the Eiffel Tower and Louvre. I never had the chance to do that in previous trips so I’m glad I managed to this time around.

Here are some photos from my trip:


On 3-4 February 2018 I attended the 20 Books London event. I first heard about it from the 20Booksto50k Facebook group. I couldn’t make it to last November’s event in Las Vegas, so I made an effort to be there for the event in London. It was pitched as a “20Booksto50k educational and networking event for committed authors to take their career to the next level”.

The venue for the event was the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel which was a beautiful place. The entire staff were friendly and professional, and the restaurants served good food. The room I booked was spacious and clean. I loved it and definitely would return for a longer stay. It’s such a tranquil place. I wish I had more time to visit the places around the area.

It’s around 40 minutes away from Oxford Street by car. The local ducks greeted me upon arrival.

Saturday morning, I checked in. I got a badge to write my name on and a custom pen and notebook, along with information packet.

Day 1 – Saturday program:

As this was the first writers’ event I had ever attended, I wasn’t sure what to expect. For the record, I felt awkward and wasn’t sure how to talk to people. I was in major introvert mode but managed to work up the nerve to talk to people. Special thanks to people like David, Wendy, Tameri and David for helping me get out of my shell. I appreciated the kindness.

I found the talks motivational and inspirational. Craig Martelle‘s introduction was fantastic. It set the tone for what to expect from the event.

Michael Anderle is the person that set this whole 20Booksto50k in motion with a Kboards post you can read here. Many of the speakers mentioned how they had followed Michael from that post into the Facebook group. Michael’s talk was amazing. And he made me aware of one thing I never noticed – the reason why I reread books. It’s the emotion, dummy. I don’t know how I never realized that. It was a lightbulb moment for this bookworm.

Andrew Dobell touched on different aspects for covers. He designed an awesome Izzy Shows cover so I was already familiar with his work.

Derek Murphy highlighted the importance of list building. Everybody’s path is different but I agree with his outlook on list building.

Michael Cooper’s talk about Facebook Ads was interesting. I’ve read his book Help! My Facebook Ads Suck. His wife, Jill, is lovely. She always shares such great advice on the 20Booksto50k group.

Faleena Hopkins discussion about fighting demons was emotional. We need to cut out the demons from our lives, people who bring us down and make us less.

Day 2 – Sunday

Martha Carr‘s world building talk was great. Lots of great tips and she also shared a very emotional story at the end of the day that brought me to tears.

Abby-Lynn Knorr presented about her journey of writing in Italy and reaching 4 figures in 40 days. I love hearing about how people reach success. I find it motivational. What she managed to do is fantastic.

Dan Wood from Draft2Digitial and Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy were interesting in their arguments for going wide. I currently have all my books in KU but I’m going to experiment with going wide in April.

Jonathan Brazee gave a good talk about professional organizations and the merit on why to join one and be part of the community. NETWORK!

Barry Hutchison by far was my favorite speaker (sorry, everyone). He was hilarious and brought the house down.

One of my favorite parts was when all the speakers stood and answered questions from the audience. David asked if each of them could do one thing, and one thing only, to promote their book what would it be? He also requested that they not repeat the answer of the previous speaker.

Speakers were inspirational and generous with their time. I really enjoyed the entire program and thought it was a great way to start 2018. I’m eight months into my writing journey so this was a wonderful and motivational event to attend. Persistence is key! Network! And above all, write a good book!

Here’s a shot of the speakers answering questions at the end of the event.

The event cost me ₤165 + hotel room + transportation. The organizers are such stand up guys that we were refunded ₤53 because expenses were less than they thought. Just goes to show that they’re awesome.

I’m happy I attended the 20 Books London event and left wanting to attend Las Vegas. I’m sure I’ll have more confidence there. Thanks to Tameri Etherton & husband David, Wendy. Thanks to May Sage who was generous with her advice (also I managed to pronounce her real name correctly! I thought I would and I was right!) and it was cool meeting Timothy Ellis in person. I also bonded with Ana Calin as I was waiting for my car to arrive which was a great bonus. I made lots of new friends. I wish I had been more outgoing but I know I did the best I could and I will definitely be more comfortable (and hopefully more outgoing) at the next event.